What is a safe speed to drive your car?

A safe speed to drive your car when there’s no speed limit on the interstate is 55 mph. But some states have speed limits as high as 65 mph. Excessive speeding increases your chances of an accident and can drive up your car insurance rates by 30%. Shop around and compare multiple insurance companies to get the best car insurance quotes.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • The safest speed limit for drivers on the interstate is 55 mph
  • A safe speed for residential roads and school zones are between 10 and 20 mph
  • Rural interstate highways have speed limits of 70 mph in some areas
  • One speeding ticket has a small impact on car insurance rates

Have you ever wondered what’s considered the safest speed for your car? Insurance companies and state authorities often tell drivers to drive at safe speeds. But what does that mean?

Don’t worry – we’re here to explain what it means to drive at a safe speed.

Our guide explains what safe speeds are, state speeding limits, and how car insurance responds to speeding tickets. Also, we’ll show you why driving safely provides the best car insurance discounts.

Read on to learn more about the safe speed to drive your car. Use our free quote tool above if you’re ready to compare multiple insurance companies in your area.

What is a safe speed to drive your car?

The safest speed to drive on a rural highway is 55 mph when there’s no speed limit posted on the interstate. But if you’re on residential roads, a safe speed is between 10 and 25 mph.

A designated speed limit is the safest speed to drive. However, specific situations may adjust the speed limit to lower speeds.

Let’s examine a few examples of restrictive speed limits.

  • 25 mph in residential streets or school zones
  • 55 mph for rural highways
  • 70 mph for rural interstate highways

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), these speed limits are for most states’ statutory speed limits.

But what about other road types? Check out the table below to see more examples of speed limits on specific roads.

Federal Highway Administration Speed Limits
RoadsSpeed Limits
Statutory (rural interstate)55 to 70 mph
Statutory (residential and school district)20 to 25 mph
Statutory (rural highways)40 to 55 mph
Posted50 mph (but varies by state)
Work Zone30 to 40 mph
Variable35 mph
Advisory15 to 25 mph
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Reducing your speed may be unsavory to drivers who like to drive a few miles over the speed limit, but driving slower can decrease your risk of getting into an accident.

While safe speeds are debatable among various drivers, a safe speed to drive your car per the DMV is the safest way to operate a motor vehicle. But a safe speed to drive your car per the DMV in New York isn’t the same as Hawaii or Texas.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are the speed limits for each state?

Every state has speed limit laws for highways and interstates. Roads are identified differently, and each has various speed limits.

Let’s look at speed limits from multiple states.

Speed Limit Laws by State
StateRural interstates (mph)Urban interstates (mph)Other limited access roads (mph)Other roads (mph)
Alabama70656565
Alaska65556555
Arizona75656565
Arkansas75
70 for trucks
6575
70 for trucks
65
California70
55 for trucks
65
55 for trucks
70
55 for trucks
65
55 for trucks
Colorado75656565
Connecticut65556555
Delaware65556555
District of Columbian/a55n/a25
Florida70657065
Georgia70706565
Hawaii60605545
Idaho75
80 on specified segments of road
70 for trucks
75
80 on specified segments of road
65 for trucks
7070
Illinois70556555
Indiana70
65 for trucks
556055
Iowa70557065
Kansas75757565
Kentucky65
70 on specified segments of road
656555
Louisiana75707065
Maine75757560
Maryland70707055
Massachusetts65656555
Michigan70
65 for trucks
75 on specified segments of road
65 for trucks on specified segments of road
707055
Minnesota70656560
Mississippi70707065
Missouri70607065
Montana80
70 for trucks
6570 for day driving
65 for night driving
70 for day driving
65 for night driving
Nebraska75707065
Nevada80657070
New Hampshire65
70 on specified segments of road
655555
New Jersey65556555
New Mexico75756555
New York65656555
North Carolina70707055
North Dakota75757065
Ohio70657055
Oklahoma75
80 on specified segments of road
707070
Oregon65
70 on specified segments of road
55 for trucks
65 for trucks on specified segments of road
556565
Pennsylvania70707055
Rhode Island65555555
South Carolina70706055
South Dakota80807070
Tennessee70707065
Texas75
80 to 85 on specified segments of road
757575
Utah75
80 on specified segments of road
657565
Vermont65555050
Virginia70706555
Washington70
75 on specified segments of road
60 for trucks
606060
West Virginia70556555
Wisconsin70707055
Wyoming70
80 on specified segments of road
75
80 on specified segments of road
7070
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Washington D.C. has some of the lowest speed limits in the United States. Meanwhile, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota have some of the highest speed limits in the nation.

How much are car insurance rates after a speeding ticket?

The best auto insurance companies issue higher rates if you have a speeding ticket. But the increase isn’t as expensive as it appears.

Let’s look at the average monthly rates impacted by speeding infractions from the top insurance companies in the United States.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Company and Speeding Violations
CompaniesMonthly Rates with a Clean Driving RecordMonthly Rates w/ One Speeding Violation
Allstate$318$374
American Family$224$252
Farmers$288$340
GEICO$179$220
Liberty Mutual$398$475
Nationwide$229$259
Progressive$283$334
State Farm$235$266
Travelers$287$355
USAA$161$183
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

USAA has the cheapest rates, but USAA car insurance is only available to military veterans and their immediate families. Therefore, the average driver won’t get access to USAA insurance policies.

But GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive, and American Family are excellent companies you should consider. State Farm is also a good company in most states.

Why do car insurance companies care about how fast I drive?

Auto insurance companies prefer safe drivers because they’re less likely to file an insurance claim. Drivers who have a history of speeding have more expensive car insurance rates.

If you happen to have a clean driving record, you can secure more affordable auto insurance rates. Also, insurance companies provide deals for safe and defensive drivers.

You can save at least 20% off your car insurance rates when you qualify for defensive and safe driver discounts.

What are the important rules of defensive driving?

When you want to make a right turn, your car must be at a reduced speed to prevent an accident.

Also, one of the rules of defensive driving is letting other drivers pass when they need to merge.

Always yield to oncoming traffic, even when the light is green. Wait for drivers who want to race the traffic light to prevent car accidents.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Safe Speed to Drive Your Car: The Bottom Line

The safest speed to drive depends on the speed limit. Reducing your speed limit by a few miles per hour is safe, but driving too slowly could cause traffic issues.

Therefore, you should move to another lane or pull over to help keep traffic flowing.

Maintaining the speed limit also reduces the chances of getting into an accident or getting a speeding violation.

The safest drivers in the United States usually pay the least for car insurance, but rates vary for each driver.

Now that you know more about a safe speed to drive your car, enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool below to compare multiple insurance companies near you.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption